Brian Laundrie Found Dead After Month-Long Manhunt
Brian Laundrie‘s notes containing his confession to killing his fiancée Gabby Petito have been released.
The FBI had said in a January press release that Laundrie, who died by suicide, left behind a notebook containing “written statements” that claimed “responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.” On June 24, an attorney for his parents, who are being sued by the YouTuber’s family over her death, released copies of the notes, which were partially smeared from what appeared to be water damage.
“I ended her life,” Laundrie wrote. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked, I was in shock.”
The 23-year-old also wrote in his notes, obtained by E! News, that Petito was injured while the two tried to cross a stream. He noted she had a “bump on her forehead” and was “freezing cold” and “begging for an end to her pain.”
Laundrie added, “From the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.” He also called her death an “unexpected tragedy, adding, “Gabby was the love of my life, but I know adored by many. I’m so very sorry to her family because I love them.”
A lawyer for the Petito family, Patrick Reilly, told People that Laundrie’s assertion that the killing was merciful and stemmed from an accident is “nonsense,” adding, “He is writing a letter as though he wants people to feel sorry for him.”
Petito, 22, was found dead in a remote area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming in September, eight days after her parents reported her missing and 18 days after Laundrie returned alone from the couple’s cross-country van road trip to his parents’ Florida home, where the two lived. A medical examiner determined the cause of her death to be homicide by strangulation.
In mid-September, soon after Laundrie returned home and after the FBI and police named him a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, his parents reported him missing. In October, his remains were discovered in an area previously underwater in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida. Authorities determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In a statement attached to the notebook scans, Steven P. Bertolino, the lawyer for Laundries’ parents, wrote, “Today the Petito family attorney, Patrick Reilly, and myself met with the FBI in Tampa to sort through and take possession of the personal items that belonged to Gabby and Brian. This was a previously agreed upon exchange to enable both the Petitos and the Laundries to receive what belonged to their respective children. As part of this return of property in FBI custody I was given Brian’s notebook.”
Bertolino continued, “Although I have chosen to release the letter as a matter of transparency I will not be commenting further as there are still proceedings pending in Court. These are Brian’s words.”
In March, Petito’s parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt filed a civil lawsuit against Laundrie’s dad Christopher Laundrie and mom Roberta Laundrie, alleging that they knew their son killed Petito before her body was discovered, kept his whereabouts “secret” after reporting him missing and were “making arrangements for him to leave the country.”
At the time, the Laundries’ attorney told E! News that the family had “no obligation to speak to Law Enforcement.” They have filed a motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit, while a judge is expected to issue an order on next steps within the next couple of weeks.
In May, Petito’s mom filed a separate wrongful death lawsuit against the curator of Laundrie’s estate. No trial date has been set.
The Laundries’ attorney previously told E! News that the wrongful death lawsuit was “fully expected,” adding that it “will most likely not be defended and the Petitos will have gained nothing more than a piece of paper that tells them what everyone already knows—which is that Brian was responsible for Gabby’s death as indicated by the FBI.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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